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Best of the Islands winners recognized during annual banquet

October 3, 2018
By TIFFANY REPECKI ( , Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

Nearly 140 businesses between Sanibel and Captiva were recently honored as the best of the best.

On Sept. 25, the Island Reporter and Sanibel-Captiva Islander recognized the 2018 Best of the Islands winners during a lunch banquet at the Sundial Beach Resort and Spa on Sanibel. Each year, the community has the opportunity to fill out ballots with dozens of categories, voting for their top picks.

A handful of island businesses took home not one, but multiple awards this year.

Article Photos

Sundial Beach Resort and Spa won for Best Full Service Resort, Best Gulf Front Dining, Best Pickleball Courts, Best Tennis Courts, Best Tiki Bar, Best Steak and Best Sushi.

Coming out on top was Sundial, which received a total of seven.

General manager Phillip Starling said he and his team were "super excited." He explained that the variety of awards showcase all the different top-notch aspects that can be discovered at Sundial.

"For the team, it gives them a sense of pride," Starling said.

Sundial won for best Full Service Resort, Gulf Front Dining, Pickleball Courts, Tennis Courts, Tiki Bar, Steak and Sushi. He noted that it is the second consecutive year it has won for its pickleball courts.

"It really tells you the quality of the courts we have," Starling said.

Since opening them, Sundial has held five sanctioned tournaments.

He also pointed to the Best Sushi award and opening of Shima Grab N Go Sushi in 2017.

"It's really caught on," Starling said.

Other big winners that were recognized in five or more categories included the Sanibel Day Spa, for

best Hair Salon/Barber, Massage Therapy, Nail Salon, Salon and Spa, as well as Bailey's General Store, for best Chocolate Shop, Coffee Bar, Grocery Store, General Store and Wine Selection.

Pinocchio's Original Italian Ice Cream walked away with best Frozen Yogurt, Gelato and Ice Cream, while sister company Geppetto's Beach Foodies earned best Beach Food To Go and Croissant Bakery.

Phaidra McDermont, owner and broker of Kingfisher Real Estate, was a first-time winner.

"I'm speechless," she said of the Best Real Estate Agency award.

McDermont explained that the agency only opened about a year ago. Asked about what she thought quickly set it apart, she described it as in the islands' nature to support small local business. Kingfisher Vacations, another business, was named the top pick in the Property Vacation Management division.

In addition, McDermont was named Best Real Estate Agent.

"I'm monumentally flattered," she said.

While it was far from her first win in the Florist category this year, owner and lead designer Jana Telecka of Floral Artistry explained that each one is special. She has all her awards on display.

"It's wonderful," she said. "It's good to know that the customers keep coming back, even if they buy just one single rose."

Telecka expressed appreciation for her customers and their continued support.

"We try to always do the best for every single customer," she said.

Telecka noted that each arrangement is pieced together like a work of art.

"It's never the same. We always do them different," she added.

A new category this year was Best Private Jet Charter, which went to Air Tek.

The full list of winners for the 2018 Best of the Islands is as follows:

- Accountant/CPA: Thomas F. Rizzo

- Advertising Campaign: Hillgate Marketing

- Air Conditioning: Sanibel Air & Electric

- Art Gallery: Tower Gallery

- Association Management: SanCap Management

- Attorney: Jason Maughan

- Auto Service: Sanibel Service Center

- Bakery: Totally Baked On Sanibel

- Bank: Bank of the Islands

- Bar: The Sanibel Grill

- Bartender: Joe Schulz, of The Sandbar

- Beach Food To-Go: Geppetto's Beach Foodies

- Beer Selection: The Sandbar

- Bicycle Rental: Billy's Bikes & Rentals

- Book Store: Macintosh Books

- Boutique: B Unique Boutique

- Breakfast: Over Easy Cafe

- Builder: Dan Hahn Custom Builders

- Burgers: Cheeburger Cheeburger

- Chef: Melissa Talmage, of Sweet Melissa's Cafe

- Children's Clothing: Nanny's Children's Shoppe

- Chiropractor: Dr. Linda Stevens, of Stevens Family Chiropractic

- Chocolate Shop: Bailey's General Store

- Coffee Bar: Bailey's General Store

- Company Mascot: Lily & Company

- Concierge Tour Service: Captain Bubby's IsLAND Tours

- Convenience Store: Huxter's Market & Deli

- Cottage Rentals: Captiva Cottages

- Craft Shop: Three Crafty Ladies

- Croissant Bakery: Geppetto's Beach Foodies

- Custard: Joey's Custard

- Deli: Sanibel Deli

- Dentist: Dr. Matthew Davis, of Island Dental

- Diner: Jerry's Foods

- Electrical Company: SanCap Electrical Company

- Event Facility: Sanibel Community House

- Family Dining: Island Cow

- Financial Services: Bank of the Islands

- Fine Dining: IL Cielo

- Fireman: John Murray

- Fishing Charter: Whitney's Bait & Tackle

- Fishing Equipment: Whitney's Bait & Tackle

- Fishing Guide: Whitney's Bait & Tackle

- Florist: Floral Artistry

- Fresh Doughnuts: Jerry's Foods

- Frozen Yogurt: Pinocchio's Original Italian Ice Cream

- Full Service Resort: Sundial Beach Resort & Spa

- Furniture: Norris Home Furnishings

- Garden Center: In The Garden/R.S. Walsh Landscaping

- Gelato: Pinocchio's Original Italian Ice Cream

- General Store: Bailey's General Store

- Gift Shop: Suncatcher's Dream

- Glass and Mirror Company: Sanibel Glass & Mirror

- Golf Course: The Dunes Golf & Tennis Club

- Grocery Store: Bailey's General Store

- Gulf Front Dining: Sundial Beach Resort & Spa

- Hair Salon/Barber: Sanibel Day Spa

- Happy Hour: The Sandbar

- Health and Fitness Coach: Tony DeCosta

- Health Club: Sanibel Health Club

- Historic Site: Sanibel Historical Museum and Village

- Home Improvement: DeCorte Four

- Hotel/Inn: Island Inn

- Humanitarian: Father Christopher Senk

- Ice Cream: Pinocchio's Original Italian Ice Cream

- Insurance Agency: Heidrick & Company

- Insurance Agent: Holli Martin

- Home Interior Design: Decorating Den

- Island Gear Rental: YOLO Watersports

- Italian Dining: Matzaluna

- Jewelry: Lily & Company

- Landscape Contractor: R.S. Walsh Landscaping

- Landscape Equipment: Bonnie's Blooming Gardens

- Local Entertainer: Danny Morgan

- Lunch: Island Cow

- Manicure/Pedicure: Sanibel Skin Spa

- Marina: Sanibel Marina

- Marketing Agency: Hillgate Marketing

- Martini: Traditions on the Beach

- Massage Therapy: Sanibel Day Spa

- Medical Center/Urgent Care: Dunavant Medical Group

- Mortgage Broker: Bank of the Islands

- Museum: Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum

- Nail Salon: Sanibel Day Spa

- New Restaurant: The Jac Island Grille & Rum Bar

- Painting Company: Barefoot Charley's

- Personal Trainer: Mahnaz Bassiri, of Island Therapy

- Pet Store: Island Paws

- Pharmacy: Sanibel Pharmacy

- Pickleball Courts: Sundial Beach Resort & Spa

- Pizza: Island Pizza

- Optometrist: Dr. Michael Pham, of Sanibel Eye Care

- Place For Dancing: George & Wendy's Seafood Grille

- Place For Entertainment: Traditions on the Beach

- Place For Family Fun: Billy's Bikes & Rentals

- Place To Watch The Game: The Sanibel Grill

- Plumber: Sanibel Plumbing Company

- Police Officer: Rick Kennedy

- Pool Contractor: Island Condo Maintenance

- Pool Service: Sanibel Captiva Pools

- Pool Store: Banner Pools

- Primary Care Physician: Dr. Scott Dunavant

- Printer: Bob's Island Graphics

- Private Jet Charter: Air Trek

- Property Vacation Management: Kingfisher Vacations

- Remodeling Contractor: Kirchner Contracting

- Sailing School: Offshore Sailing School

- Real Estate Team: The Bell Team

- Roofing: Crowther Roofing

- Salon: Sanibel Day Spa

- Seafood: Timbers Restaurant & Fish Market

- Server: Joe Schulz, of The Sandbar

- Service Organization/Club: Kiwanis Club of Sanibel-Captiva

- Shell Shop: She Sells Sea Shells

- Shoe Store: Rinaldi's Fashion Shoes

- Shopping: Periwinkle Place Shops

- Sightseeing Cruises: Captiva Cruises

- Spa: Sanibel Day Spa

- Specialty Cheeses: Jerry's Foods

- Steak: Shima Japanese Steakhouse & Sushi Bar

- Surf Shop: YOLO Watersports

- Taxi Limo Service: Island Taxi

- Real Estate Agency: Kingfisher Real Estate

- Real Estate Agent: Phaidra McDermott, of Kingfisher Real Estate

- Swimwear: Mango Bay

- Sushi: Shima Japanese Steakhouse & Sushi Bar

- Tapas: Traditions on the Beach

- Tennis Courts: Sundial Beach Resort & Spa

- Tiki Bar: Sundial Beach Resort & Spa

- Title Company: Superior Title

- Trust Company: Sanibel Captiva Trust

- T-Shirt Shop: On Island

- Vacation Rental Agency: Island Vacations of Sanibel Captiva

- Veterinarian: Beachside Animal Clinic

- Water Sports: YOLO Watersports

- Wedding Venue: Casa Ybel

- Wine Selection: Bailey's General Store

- Women's Clothing: Chico's



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